What do oil and gas workers need to know about hydrogen sulfide?

| Jun 26, 2020 | Industrial Workers' Accidents, Workers' compensation, Workplace Accidents, Workplace Injury, Workplace Safety |

While many know the risks that machinery and trucking can pose to workers in Texas’s oil and gas industries, you may not know that danger could also be in the air around you as you work. Hydrogen sulfide, sometimes called H2S gas, can put you at risk, and poisoning from this gas can be deadly.

Hydrogen sulfide is a known risk in the oil and gas industries.

Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally produced gas that comes from decaying organic matter like crude oil, natural gas and processed waste. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), exposure to this toxic gas is a risk for workers in a wide variety of industries, including oil production and refining.

This gas is often associated with a smell similar to that of rotten eggs, but continued exposure or high level exposure can create olfactory fatigue, which makes it difficult to detect this smell. Because of this, employers must often use monitoring equipment to stay within OSHA’s exposure limits.

What makes hydrogen sulfide so dangerous?

Limiting the damage that hydrogen sulfide can do on your health often depends on identifying the early symptoms of exposure. Symptoms of hydrogen sulfide exposure include:

  • Respiratory irritation
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Eye irritation or watery eyes
  • Cognitive issues, including irritability and memory loss
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Inhaling high concentrations of this gas can be especially dangerous. Workers can have seizures or rapidly become unconscious. Because of this, exposure to high levels of the gas could be deadly.

Because hydrogen sulfide is flammable, working in environments with a higher concentration of this gas can also put you at risk of burns and injuries related to explosions.

You have a right to work safely in any industry. If you or a loved one was harmed by exposure to this gas, speak to an attorney about your legal options. It is possible to get the compensation you need to recover.